Once Upon A Girl

The firewood business was booming, it was bringing in some good cash for the family and to cap it all, Ada was now well known for the business, her customers have increased and some would find her in her house anytime she didn't show at the market.

Feeding her family was her top priority, she would make sure to buy enough foodstuff for the family, and it would sustain them for many days; even when the foodstuff ran out, she would quickly replace them. Ada took in the idea of saving some money from her grandma; after selling her firewood, she would divide the money into two and save them, and she would use the remaining for the family's needs.

But suddenly, Tochi became ill. She had complained about fever before she went to bed the previous day, and the next day, she could not rise from the bed again. Ada had got out of bed very early, and she went out for her business; she had just dropped her firewood and was waiting for the first customer when she saw DiMma running towards her; she waited patiently for her to get closer.

Ada: What is it? (she asks curiously)

DiMma: (breathing heavily) I don't know what is wrong with Tochi, she refused to rise from her bed, and she has not eaten her breakfast.

Ada: Tochi? ( her heart beats faster) what is wrong with her? But she was okay yesterday ...

DiMma: You need to see her, I think she's sick, and I can remember she complained of fever yesterday. As they were speaking, a customer approached them.

Customer: (interrupting) how much are you selling?

Ada: DiMma please sell this firewood to her; I'm going home to look after Tochi.

Customer: where are you going? I want to buy this firewood from you and not from your sister.

Ada: My third sister is sick, and I need to see her right now; please, don't be angry, let my sister attend to you,biko.

Customer:eyaaa, okay..greet your sister for me, we shall meet the day after tomorrow an. Ada nodded; she asked her sister to attend to the customer before rushing home; when she got home, she saw Tochi shivering on the bed, and Sobechi was sitting beside her.

Ada: Tochi..(she calls and touches her) tell me how you are feeling.

Tochi: My head..my head...my head is burning. (She speaks softly) Ada touched her head; her temperature was normal; in fact, her body was not hot, and she was only sweating.

Ada: Have you eaten?

Tochi: I'm not hungry, sister, I'm dying..is like they are drumming on my head. (She clutches her head)

Ada: You will be fine; stand up, I'll help you bath yourself, and I'll feed you after.

Tochi: I can't stand up.

Ada: What do you mean. Tochi didn't reply; she clutched her head, crying softly; Ada carried her out of bed and made her stand, but her legs were wobbling; she could not stand by herself. Ada lay her back on the bed; she went out of the room and fetched some water into a bucket; she kept the bucket, a chair, soap, and a sponge in the backyard. She returned to their room and carried Tochi to the backyard; Sobechi followed them quietly. Ada bathed her sister, wore her clothes, and brought out food to feed her.

Tochi: No, I don't want to eat. My head, my head..my head hurts.

Ada: eat, open your mouth..please eat this food; you haven't eaten anything.

Tochi:(shaking her head sideways) water..give me water.

Ada:( sighs) you have been drinking water since morning ( gives her a cup of water); after drinking this one, you open your mouth to eat this rice.

Tochi:(drinks water and gives her the cup)

Ada: now open your mouth,haaaaa...

Tochi opened her mouth slightly, and Ada slid the food inside her mouth; she belched and vomited out everything.

Ada: easy...easy..(she caresses her back) why are you not eating it? Don't you like the food?

Tochi: I like it; I don't want to eat it. Ada removed her shirt and wiped away everything she vomited; she went inside and brought another shirt, and she dressed her again.

Ada: Sobechi, take this plate inside. Sobechi carried the plate inside and came out quickly.

Ada: we will wait for DiMma to return before taking you to the hospital. DiMma walked into the veranda as Ada was still speaking; she gave her money and looked at Tochi, who was still shivering.

DiMma: We need to take her to the hospital.

Ada: That was what I was saying before you came, you have to look after Sobechi...

DiMma: I'm coming with you. (She cut in)

Ada: Remember I have to take a bike that will drive us there, the money will not be enough for us.

DiMma: Okay. Ada stood up and wanted to carry Tochi.

DiMma: Ah..sister..go and change your clothes naa, you need to take your bath self.

Ada: (Looking at Tochi) I need to get her to the hospital immediately.

DiMma: Take your bath and change your clothes, please; Tochi is not dying; I'll go outside and find a bike.

Ada had no other way to argue with her sister; she hurried over her bath and changed her clothes, a bike man was waiting at the gate after she was done, and the man helped her carry her sister into the bike before they drove off. The elderly doctor examined Tochi's body; the result was that nothing was wrong with her. Ada was confused when the doctor told her that nothing was wrong with her sister.

Ada: But doctor, she's shivering, and she said her head is hurting her.

Doctor: your sister is not sick, she's fine, and we didn't find any sickness in her body either.

Ada: what's wrong with her, then?

Doctor: I don't know; you have to take her home.

Ada: Won't you give her any drugs?

Doctor:(sighing)Which drug will I give her when nothing is wrong with her, my dear? Take your sister home; if you're a Christian, pray for..this is not a medical problem.

Ada was very disappointed, worried, and anxious; she was returning home without solving her sister's problem. Everyone was waiting for her when she got home, Tochi illness had reached their grandma where she was selling vegetables; by the time she got home, Ada had taken Tochi to the hospital.

Grandma: How did it go? (She asks anxiously)

Ada carried Tochi into the bed; she sat beside her and requested a cup of water, DiMma fetched her the water, and she drank all of it.

Ada:(To Tochi) will you drink? She didn't say anything, her eyes were closed, and she was breathing slowly.

Ada: The doctor examined her body; he said nothing was wrong with her.

Grandma: but she's sick.

Ada: I don't know what else to do. (She sighs)

Grandma: I'll take her to a herbalist; she will cure her or explain what's wrong with her.

Ada: When are we going?

Grandma: I'd love to take her there now, but you are tired, as I can see.

DiMma: I'll carry her, grandma; Ada needs to rest.

Ada: Are you sure? Can You carry her? (She says yes) DiMma carried Tochi as they went to the herbalist's house.

Ada waited anxiously for them to return, it was 10 pm, and they were not yet back; she cuddled her sister on her lap and continued waiting. After some time, Grandma walked Into the compound with Tochi on her back; DiMma was plodding behind her. Ada carried Sobechi to her shoulder and stood up.

Ada: Welcome.

Grandma replied And went into their room; she lay Tochi on the bed and sat down. DiMma sat down quietly; with a look on her face, one could tell that she was very tired.

Ada: What did she say?

Grandma: (begins to cry)

Ada: why are you crying? What is wrong with her (turns to DiMma)? What did the herbalist say?

Grandma: Ewoooo!...Bernard! it shall not be well with you..what did we do to you, Bernard? What did we do? ( She cries)

Ada: why are you calling my father? Someone should talk to me now. DiMma cleared her throat, and Ada stared at her, waiting for her to say something.

DiMma: The herbalist said that papa wanted to kill me, and the juju he sent was meant for me, but my strong spirit could not let it harm me, so it went after another person, and it was Tochi, whom the herbalist said was the softest spirit in our house...

Ada: Papa did what? (She gaps)

Grandma:(sniffs)Tochi has only three days to live, Bernard has killed my child ooo

Ada: What?!


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